After a dental extraction you must allow the tooth socket time to heal. You should not drink through a straw or smoke during the healing phase as these habits can dislodge the clot. Rinsing with warm salt water can help the healing process. An ice pack can help reduce any swelling. The area should feel a little better every day. Sometimes, however, the clot may not form or may become dislodged. If this happens, the tooth socket will become very painful. At that point, you must return to the office and have a special dressing placed to help heal the “dry” socket.